Orientation for foreign service specialists is three weeks of information overload. It is meant to introduce us to the culture of the Department of State (DoS) and Foreign Service (FS), but we also have tons of paperwork, long lectures, security briefings to increase paranoia, information on how not to piss off ambassadors, and if we are lucky, the occasional bathroom break and a couple times even a lunch break. We have homework, we have writing exercises, and we have limited time to do any of the homework or online lessons during the working day. Which is manageable if you are just hopping on the FSI shuttle to Oakwood but really annoying if you are one of the local hires (aka those who get screwed). My commute (via MARC train and then Metro, then shuttle bus) ranges from 1.5 to 2 hours EACH WAY. Needless to say, I have been exhausted. Add to that the fact that my weekends have also been packed with various social commitments and required functions, and you have a recipe for exhaustion.
I have been though the first week of my specialization training, it is a total of three weeks. Again, a lot more information but the day is shorter: 9 to 4 instead of 8 to 5. We get actual breaks and class time to work on assignments. It is so much better but I still have the nasty commute.
With all this, I haven’t had time to update and honestly no one would really be too interested in details of orientation. And no one wants to hear about how I learned how to use the system to do up cables or crap like that.
So yesterday I had planned to do NOTHING. Except watch Doctor Who at 8pm of course. And I did NOTHING. I was in jammies ALL day, I took a long nap, I rested, I pretty much turned my brain off. I did some laundry and sorted some more stuff to take to Sudan. That was it. Today I still feel like I have a major energy deficit so I’m going to chill most of today too. It is long overdue and desperately needed for my sanity and health.
That said, I do hope to gather up the energy to talk about my FLAG DAY! So stay tuned.